METAIRIE, La. — On top of everything else Michael Thomas has accomplished in this season with the New Orleans Saints, he has shed light on an historical anomaly: No receiver has ever won the NFL’s MVP award.

That’s right. Not even Jerry Rice, who finished second in both 1987 and 1995. In fact, no receiver has received a vote since Randy Moss in his rookie season of 1998.

So even though the Thomas is on pace to break Marvin Harrison’s NFL record of 143 catches in a season, he has his work cut out for him.

“If Jerry Rice didn’t win an MVP, it’s not possible,” said Rice’s former quarterback, Steve Young.

Young then detected a chuckle after his blunt response and replied, “I’m not joking about that.”

“My sense is that Michael Thomas is worthy, but I don’t know how he wins it,” said Young, who is now an ESPN analyst. “Maybe it’s because the receiver has to have somebody else for him to be prolific. And there’s no question there’s a bias toward the quarterback as the MVP versus the receiver.

“Maybe it’s just the receivers, for all the things they do get, this is one of the things that is kind of a bummer for receivers.”

Unfortunately for the sake of drama and debate, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is threatening to take all the fun out of this year’s MVP argument. Nevertheless, Thomas might be making the most compelling case of any receiver since Rice.

He already has 110 catches, 1,290 receiving yards and six touchdowns, putting him on pace for 146, 1,720 and eight — despite playing nearly six full games with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

And Thomas is posting monster numbers on a weekly basis, even though defenses know he is the only receiver they have to worry about. No other Saints receiver has more than 24 catches.

“Has anybody done what he’s doing? In history?” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said Thomas should be a candidate. “Fastest to 400 [career] receptions, all that stuff, right? So when you’re the first to do something, I think that should grab people’s attention.”

But when asked if he plans to throw the ball to Thomas even more to help him break Harrison’s record, Brees laughed and said, “Is that possible?”

Thomas has a chance to make a statement in the next two weeks, with a showdown looming against the San Francisco 49ers and their top-ranked defense (allowing 134.3 passing yards per game) on Sunday, followed by a national prime-time showcase against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 15.

But he isn’t interested in campaigning.

“Yeah, I was surprised [to hear that no receiver had ever won the award]. But I feel like it’s more about championships,” Thomas said. “It’s cool, I mean, it’s a blessing I guess to be in that category. But the individual awards don’t last as much as a championship and being able to celebrate with your team and just that whole experience.”

Thomas has maintained the same approach toward the possibility of breaking Harrison’s record.

“When you play at a high level, a lot of good things come with that,” Thomas said. “So my overall goal is helping this team win football games and playing in the championship and correcting our mistakes from last year and improving on my play from last year.”





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